Horse Riding and Dystonia. Progress Report 24

imageIt always makes me rather cross when (usually) non-horsey folk say “You don’t have to be fit to ride. The horse does all the work, doesn’t it?” Er, no. Actually.

By my reckoning, to ride a good, variable training session, you need to be as fit as a footballer and as flexible as a gymnast. Just like your horse. OK, maybe a slight exaggeration, but if I could only get part way along both of those requirements, I would ride a heck of a lot better.

Take yesterday, for example. When I arrived at the yard, I was met by a mixture of friendly kids and instructors. One of the children immediately started asking me about the school’s competition schedule and was I going to enter again in July? Foolishly, I said yes.

Oh. Right.

Back on Tosca, problems became immediately apparent. Having spent the last few weeks having fun (or what my instructor calls “messing about”) with Wonder Nag, I need to go back to basics with Tosca and start correcting up all her usual problems. The biggest one being her desire to fall out of canter after half a 20m circle. With just four weeks to go, this means we won’t be doing anything more exciting than a Prelim. test.

The other great challenge is the current fitness level of the combined team. Both of us have been on holiday. And it shows.

After 30 minutes of trotting (shape check) and trot-canter transitions on a circle, to start breaking the ‘fallout’ problem, my back protector had turned into a mobile sauna and the inside of my hat was not a nice place to be. Add to this, the fact that I needed oxygen and a stretcher and you get a feel for what needs to be done.

Basically, you need to be fit if you want to school your horse properly.

Since getting my absolutely fab dystonia friendly bike some weeks ago, I’ve being doing about 3 miles a day on it (weather permitting), but I don’t feel that I’m getting much fitter. My riding instructor suggests that I need to do interval training and I think she’s right. I’ve been meaning to go back to the gym, but frankly I’ve loved riding the bike so much, I’ve kind of …. not bothered. Clearly, this can’t continue.

So, the challenge is on.

Four weeks to get fit (and hope that my heart doesn’t chuck another wobbly and that my dystonia symptoms stay calm) and cure the red lady of her bad habits.

Can we do it?

Who knows, but we’re going to give it a shot.

Have a good week.

[Picture credit ? If it’s yours, please contact me and I will credit or remove. Thank you.]


About Dystonia Girl

Horse rider who loves to blog and do lots of other things too. Lives with, but is not defined by, a rare neurological condition called Dystonia.
This entry was posted in Dressage, Dystonia, Horse Riding and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Horse Riding and Dystonia. Progress Report 24

  1. hayleyditmore says:

    Hey! I was wondering if you would allow me to feature you on my account to raise awareness for movement/muscular neurological disorders! Let me know if you are interested by emailing me at

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